Classical Music News of the Week, November 4, 2017

Concerts at Saint Thomas Presents a Pair of Christmas Concerts in December

Concerts at Saint Thomas continues its decades long New York City holiday tradition of performing Handel's Messiah at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue at West 53rd Street on December 5 & 7 at 7:30pm. Daniel Hyde conducts the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys in their ongoing partnership with New York Baroque Incorporated, along with soloists Ellie Dehn, Clare McNamara, Lawrence Jones, and Jesse Blumberg. Hailed by The New York Times as "king among the innumerable [Messiah] performances in New York," it is the only Messiah in the city performed with men and boys' choir, and is considered by many to be the start of the Christmas Season.

On Thursday, December 14 at 5:30pm, Britten's transcendent and ethereal A Ceremony of Carols provides a meditative respite from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Season. Daniel Hyde conducts the Boys of the Saint Thomas Choir along with award-winning harpist Bridget Kibbey. The piece, written for harp and boys' choir, unifies the various carols of the Christmas story with a blend of starkness and shivering beauty. The program will also feature works for choir and harp by Ireland and Hadley, as well as pieces for solo harp by Bach, Britten, and Agócs.

All concerts take place at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue at West 53rd Street, NYC.

Tickets may be purchased at www.SaintThomasChurch.org/music/concerts, by calling the Concerts Office at (212) 664-9360, by email at concerts@SaintThomasChurch.org, or in person at the Concerts Office at One West 53rd Street at Fifth Avenue (enter through the Parish House).

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

LA Master Chorale's Christmas Concerts in Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Los Angeles Master Chorale will perform five festive Christmas concerts in Walt Disney Concert Hall in December. The choral programs are a much-loved Los Angeles holiday tradition and these concerts frequently sell out.

A blend of favorite Christmas carols, songs, and popular classical compositions, the series of concerts also includes a Messiah Sing-Along concert which allows the audience to sing as the choir. Tickets to all concerts start at $29 and are available now online from lamasterchorale.org, by calling the Box Office at 213-972-7282, or in person from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion box office, Monday – Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM.

"Festival of Carols with Eric Whitacre"
Saturday, December 2, 2017 – 2 pm
Saturday, December 9, 2017 – 2 pm

Bach: The Six Motets
Sunday, December 10, 2017 – 7 pm

Handel's Messiah
Sunday, December 17, 2017 – 7 pm

37th Annual Messiah Sing-Along
Monday, December 18, 2017 – 7:30 pm

Tickets to all concerts are available now, starting from $29:
Online: lamasterchorale.org
Phone: 213-972-7282
Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office Monday – Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

--Jennifer Scott, LA Master Chorale

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with Cellist Truls Mork & World Premiere by Shuying Li
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra continues its 2017-2018 season on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall, NYC, with a performance featuring Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk in Shostakovich's first Cello Concerto and the world premiere of Shuying Li's Out Came the Sun, inspired by the profound and transformative experience of postpartum motherhood. Also on the program is Handel's Water Music, which is featured on two of Orpheus' internationally acclaimed Deutsche Grammophon albums from 1992 and 2003, and Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite.

Single tickets for the December 2 performance, priced from $12.50 to $115, are available for purchase at the Carnegie Hall box office at 57th and 7th, can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website at carnegiehall.org.

For more information, visit http://orpheusnyc.org/

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Fifth Graders to Perform Their Own Songs November 15 & 17
There are two pivotal moments during the Los Angeles Master Chorale's Voices Within education program when the reality of creating their own songs truly resonates with the fifth grade students taking part: the first is when they realize that they are expected to create the melody for their song — it is not being written for them; and the second is when they are standing alongside professional Master Chorale singers, about to perform the songs they composed.

"They straighten up," says Teaching Artist, lyricist Brett Paesel, "and you see them be like, 'Oh! This is really happening!"

For students at Huntington Park Elementary School and Mt. Washington Elementary School these performances will happen on Wednesday, November 15 (Huntington Park Elementary, 6055 Corona Avenue, Huntington Park, CA 90255) and Friday, November 17 (Mt. Washington Elementary, 3981 San Rafael Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90065) when they perform their songs for fellow students, teachers, and friends and family. Each school will give two performances.

For complete information, visit lamasterchoroale.org

--Jennifer Scott, LA Master Chorale

Angela Hewitt Returns to Bach Odyssey at 92Y
Angela Hewitt, "the outstanding Bach pianist of her generation" (The Sunday Times, London), returns to 92Y's Kauffman Hall, NYC, on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:30 pm to showcase her skills as one of the world's foremost performers and Bach interpreters in the second year of her four-season journey (12 recitals) of Bach's complete keyboard works.

"Hewitt played Bach's three-part inventions so that they came over as one single variegated work, with the plangent ninth acting as its dark heart, in the way the Black Pearl variation does for the Goldbergs." The Independent (London) opined. Ms. Hewitt was named 'Artist of the Year' at the 2006 Gramophone Awards, and in 2015 she was promoted to a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Fun facts: Ms. Hewitt will meet about 20 students from the High School for Public Service in Brooklyn prior to the concert for a Q&A session in 92Y's Warburg Lounge. This activity is part of the 92Y's Concerts Schools Project that aims to enhance music education for students at NYC public high schools through attendance at live performances in 92Y's world-class Concerts Series and participation in classroom workshops led by professional performing artists.

For more information, visit https://www.92y.org/event/angela-hewitt-bach-odyssey-iv

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

"From Ghetto to Cappella": Interfaith Exchanges in the Music of Baroque Italy
Salon/Sanctuary Concerts program of Italian music opens with an unaccompanied Yemeni chant. The text by Dunash ha-Levi ben Labrat (920-990) is a prayer for peace and freedom, a prayer in praise of the Sabbath, a prayer for security by an uprooted people.

Jews from the Middle East were transplanted to Italy as early as Ancient Roman times, as Jews expelled from Spain found a home there after 1492. Italian Jewish communities incorporated descendants of both Sephardic refugees as well as those of slaves brought back from Judaea by conquering Roman armies. That the Jewish presence in Italy was characterized by the familiar and precarious balance between assimilation and exile is well known. What is less commonly explored is the cross-fertilization between Jewish and Christian musical cultures, and the impact this exchange had on mainstream compositional voices of the seicento.

Thursday, November 16th at 8:00pm
The Brotherhood Synagogue, 28 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003

For tickets, call 1 888 718 4253, or go to http://www.salonsanctuary.org

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

5BMF Presents the Finale of the Five Borough Songbook, Volume II
On Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 7:30pm, preceded by a 7:00pm Composer/Poet chat, Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) presents the Brooklyn premiere and grand finale performance of the Five Borough Songbook, Volume II with expanded casting at National Sawdust. The project, which premiered in Manhattan and Queens earlier this year in honor of 5BMF's 10th anniversary season, features 20 new commissions inspired by New York City places, people and poetry from twenty composers, and includes solo songs, duets and ensemble works scored for various combinations of voice, piano and cello. The Five Borough Songbook, Volume II received its Staten Island premiere on September 16 at Trinity Lutheran Church and its Bronx premiere on September 17 at the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture.

The Five Borough Songbook, Volume II includes works by Matthew Aucoin, Lembit Beecher, Conrad Cummings, Jonathan Dawe, Evan Fein, Daniel Felsenfeld, Herschel Garfein, Whitney George, Marie Incontrera, Laura Kaminsky, Libby Larsen, Hannah Lash, Missy Mazzoli, Jessie Montgomery, Robert Paterson, Paola Prestini, Kevin Puts, Kamala Sankaram, Gregory Spears and Bora Yoon. Performers for this concert include sopranos Justine Aronson and Marnie Breckenridge; mezzo-sopranos Hai-Ting Chinn and Amanda Crider; tenors William Ferguson and Miles Mykkanen; baritones Christopher Dylan Herbert and Jorell Williams; cellist Sophie Shao; and pianists Thomas Bagwell and Erika Switzer.

Concert Information:
Five Borough Songbook, Vol. II:
Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. (7:00 p.m. Composer Chat)
National Sawdust | 80 N 6th Street | Brooklyn, NY
Tickets: $29 in Advance, $34 at the Door at https://nationalsawdust.org/event/five-borough-songbook-volume-ii/

For more information, visit Please visit www.5bmf.org

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

EXO (The Experimental Orchestra) Invites You to a Nutcracker Dance Party
Have you always wanted to dance with the Sugarplum Fairies, or to glide to the soaring strings in the pas de deux? Now is your chance! EXO is building on its famous Rite of Spring Dance Party, inviting you to immerse yourself in the heart of the orchestra with a Nutcracker Dance Party!

Both the adult-only (Thursday, November 30 at 8pm) and the family-friendly (Saturday, December 2 at 2:30pm) version of the concert offer an opportunity to get up close with the orchestra and dance to your heart's desire. The Thursday, November 30th concert offers a ticket package where you can sit INSIDE the orchestra, experiencing the music from within. Seasonal cocktails will be offered to further encourage carefree dancing.

Note that no ballet experience is necessary, and if you would rather not dance, there are seats available either inside the orchestra, where the sound will surround you and embrace you in true EXO style, or off to the sides (if you'd prefer to be like Clara, aka Maire, in the second act).

Holiday themed-attire and ballet costumes are welcome!
Tickets available at www.experientialorchestra.com/concerts/.

Nutcracker Dance Party:
Thursday, November 30 at 8pm
The DiMenna Center for Classical Music (450 West 37th Street, NYC)
$40 for dancing or standing room
$75 for a seat inside the orchestra
$100 VIP ticket with champagne reception

Nutcracker Dance Party for Kids (5+ with their adult dancing companions):
Saturday, December 2 at 2:30pm
The DiMenna Center for Classical Music (450 West 37th Street, NYC)
Adult tickets: $40 for dancing-room or seats farther away, and $75 for prime seating.
Kid tickets: $25 for one, $45 for two, and $60 for three. (All children must be accompanied by an adult dancing companion.)

For more information, visit www.experientialorchestra.com

--Elizabeth Holub, Experimental Orchestra

The Nutcracker: A Festive Tradition Now in Its 15th Year at Salisbury Symphony
Back by overwhelming demand, the Salisbury Symphony and the Piedmont Dance Theatre have announced their collaboration to bring Tchaikovsky's iconic ballet The Nutcracker to Keppel Auditorium (2300 W Innes St, Salisbury, NC 28144) this December. The much-loved holiday ballet continues to break box-office records for Keppel, reaching 100% capacity for three years running. This season's performances will be held on Saturday, December 16th at 6:30pm, with a matinee performance on Sunday, December 17th at 2:30pm.

Now in its 15th year, with a new cast from Piedmont Dance Theatre's troupe and in a revised production as conceived by Marius Petipa, The Nutcracker is choreographed by American Ballet Theatre alumna and internationally acclaimed dance star Rebecca Wiley and Juilliard-trained Daniel Wiley, named by Charlotte Magazine as the city's "Best Male Dancer".

To celebrate the production's 15th anniversary, The Nutcracker will showcase guest dancers Kathleen Breen Combes performing the role of the 'Sugar Plum Fairy' and Yury Yanowsky as the 'Cavalier.' Ms. Breen Combes, a principal dancer of 15 - years with Boston Ballet, has been hailed by The New York Times as a "ballerina of colossal scale and boldness." Mr. Yanowsky, a 22-year veteran with Boston Ballet, has danced many lead roles with the company and is an award-winning choreographer.

For complete information, visit https://www.salisburysymphony.org/

--James Harvey, Salisbury Symphony

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa